Welcome to my Technical Design blog, coinciding with my study year with Noroff as part of the Technical Design with CAD 2D/3D course. This blog with contain a day to day reflective journal on the various exercises, tasks and objectives throughout the course.
Part two of the Week 2 assignment was to draw the same oven as an isometric projection.
Isometric drawing in AutoCAD is something I had little experience of before last week, so this task has been a little revolutionary for me. Isometric drawing in itself is something I have tried by hand, but not in CAD. Once I understood better how to control the polar tracking (F10) and Isoplane settings (F5), this was a straightforward task. I also found out how to draw an ellipse to appear as a circle in Isometric mode (Isocircle), which was a pleasing moment!
To my mind, the simple finished line drawing bared resemblance to the front cover of an IKEA assembly guide (to me at least). The style of these manuals are somewhat iconic and familiar, and have provided varying degrees of helpfulness to most of us at some point!
Having completed the task in good time, as a sidestep I decided to analyse how their house-style was composed. In typical Scandinavian style; bold fonts and outlines, lots of white space around the drawing, simple legibility. This is a functional graphic style, and not in any way a production drawing, but nevertheless one based upon simple line drawings.
Just for fun, I tried to replicate it here using AutoCAD, exporting to PDF and converting to .png to be uploaded here. Apart from the design of the hob, the biggest difference is that they are using perspective drawings presumably extracted from a 3D model. I have been using Isometric projection, a flat drawing based upon 30 degree angles. It also lacks scale, since it is not a production drawing. The conclusion: AutoCAD has some usefulness in graphic illustration, not just CAD production.
I also tried adding some ‘shadow’ behind the control dials, as per the Ikea drawing. For this, I have dabbled a little with the text style and line weight settings, which I hope to getter a deeper understanding of later. Finishing touch of course, a slightly cryptic and amusing Swedish name!
Week 2 of the course, and the focus switches to reporting what I have been learning by means of a first drawing assignment.
An orthographic drawing of a stove unit has proved to be a simple enough task, utilising tools and commands in AutoCAD which have become refamiliarised through this process. There were however a few surprises along the way.
Hooray for array
To create the 6 identical switches on the oven, I chose to use the Array tool. As per the assignment, the switch itself was a simple block. New to me though was that the Array command is much enhanced and can be adjusted afterwards too. In this instance, it was a perfect shortcut to copying out the block 5 times, and one which allows me to make changes afterwards if needed.
When it came to presenting the drawing on a title sheet I had to learn more about the Enhanced Attribute Editor in order to add the details of the drawing to the title block. A new feature (to me at least) which is incredibly useful for keeping blocks and drawing templates very standardised and clean. The editor itself was surprisingly intuitive and simple to use, contrary to my previous experience with AutoCAD!
Autodesk Design Review
I have to admit, I’m yet to fully appreciate what this extra piece of software is for and what it can do. I have though managed to export my finished drawing as a .dwf and open it up in Autodesk’s Design Review. A few things here that I wouldn’t be satisfied with in a professional context; lack of line-weight or plot settings, and a lack of dimensioning. I hope this will be covered in coming lessons, and which I am in need of time to refresh upon.
The first stage of the assignment was completed within a couple of hours, including researching these new features and report writing. This was in addition to the time spent on the various helpful daily tasks provided. With time to spare, and more to learn; onto the additional task!
Week 1 has been about going through the basics of drawing. Having been entirely self taught in AutoCAD before now, there are a few things here I hadn’t really got to grips with before. I have been going through the controls at the bottom right of the screen such as Grid settings, polar tracking, object snap, isometric mode. This has been enlightening, especially drawing in and out of Dynamic Mode with absolute/relative coordinates.
Here’s a couple of videos whilst drawing. One using polar tracking to create a star shape, and drawing in Isometric mode:
I have begun the NOROFF course by getting to grips with the basics of 2D drawing in AutoCAD. With a few years of this behind me already, albeit long in the past, this is more of a familiarisation exercise and a chance to discover what’s new.
One of the first tasks has been to draw a simple layout of an apartment or a room within one. Rather than drawing out all the items of furniture myself, I searched up CAD furniture blocks online and discovered that the world of downloadable .dwg files has increased dramatically since I was last drawing in 2010. ‘BIM’ wasn’t even a thing back then, and this is something I really hope to learn about. What I have noticed is that this has really pushed forward the cross communication between suppliers/specifiers over the last 10 years. Along with this, online libraries have emerged with models ready to drag and drop into any project.
I work part time at IKEA right now, and unashamedly/unsurprisingly the majority of my furniture comes from there. Happy I was then to learn of a free CAD library at polantis.com containing most of the furniture already in my room, saving me time in measuring/drawing desks and chairs.
Once I’d downloaded the relevant files, they were saved to my personal library, an ‘AutoCAD blocks’ folder on my cloud system. From there these were imported as blocks referenced in to my drawing.
To resolve the problem of crashing lines where objects stand over one another, I used a white colour fill not associated with a line thickness, and ‘send to back/bring to front’ under the modifiers toolbar. An alternative would have been to explode and trim the various lines, but that would have been more time consuming and messier. In model view it looks something like this:
Here I downloaded the chair, desk and lamp from polantis.com/ikea, whilst the iMac / Laptop came from another site with free block downloads: https://cad-block.com/275-laptop-peripheral-devices.html.
It doesn’t look too pretty in model view, but it has the effect in paper space of layering these items.
So I am a student again, and that fills me with excitement. I am never happier than when I am learning things. This week has been mostly about laying the foundations for study and ‘setting up shop‘; physically, digitally and mentally.
Physically – I spent some time at the beginning of the week getting the hardware sorted out, as well as making myself a comfortable place to study in this small corner of Bergen. It doesn’t look much but then what was here before really wasn’t worth a picture at all, and now I have a comfortable, organised and practical work area with room to expand if need be. I have here a 27″ iMac with 8 GB RAM/Intel Core i5 (with plans to expand memory). AutoCAD is running on my new Acer Aspire 5 with 16 GB RAM, Intel Core i7. This I am also planning to add to this with a 3D mouse and perhaps a 2nd monitor too. I realise that a stationary PC was recommended, but portability is a must and this was one of the highest spec laptops in this price range. An iPad Pro is also proving to be a very handy thing to have whilst working on the go.
Digitally – Lots of new programs to install and configure. Adobe CS was already in place on the iMac, but AutoDesk software had to be installed on the PC as well as anti virus etc. Google apps are proving to be a great free alternative to Office 365 and paying Dropbox for cloud storage is money well spent.
Mentally – With all this in place I have a spring again in my step and I’m ready to face the intense year ahead. Time management and planning are everything going in to this hectic year, where I also must work part time and keep various other musical commitments. I am confident I have made a good decision here to begin this course and really deepen my knoweldge in an exciting field. My portfolio already shows work from years ago which demonstrates my use of the tools we are to be learning. However, I need to refresh and update these skills, and I will make use of the opportunity to deepen my knowledge beyond the course syllabus.
It has been a struggle this week with time planning, but now I have the full year plan I will be able to manage my time accordingly in order to meet the deadlines.
It’s important to stay inspired! This image below really caught my imagination whilst studying BArch in 2008/9. I love the loftiness and airiness captured in the image, helped by the birds flying through the vaults. I use Pinterest as a tool for collecting inspirational images and keep all of my collections public.
I don’t necessarily expect to be producing something like this at the end of the year myself. Instead, I wish to expand my portfolio with work that reflects what is being developed in and around the city I live right now.
I’m also inspired by what’s going on in Bergen currently, especially at Dokken. A masterplan is being put in place for this huge waterfront area and is currently engaging a number of architects in the region. I will be keeping an eye on this, not least because the visualisations are top notch and exactly the kind of thing I hope to be involved in creating in the future.
One that grabbed my attention was this below from Vill Urbanisme. I love colours and textures of this image, especially the fish-scaled aquarium, and the sense of ‘place’ created by adding figures walking towards the square.
The following video is from an earlier time in the same development, but has a great ambitious and aspirational quality to it whilst presenting all the elements of a complex masterplan.
“Visjon Dokken” – EGD Property, OBOS, MAD Arkitekter, Asplan Viak og Probiz.
Video by www.Skyllab.com
Important themes for today’s lessons:
- Pluralsight – this is new for me, but at first glance not too unlike LinkedIn learning, which I have used before. Exciting resource and absolutely worth spending many hours watching and attempting to follow the steps in the tutorial videos.
- Study blog – A surprising concept, but having an online reflective journal on an online course makes a lot of sense actually. I already had a WordPress site which I have adapted to use as a course blog. It was a portfolio page previously, elements of which still remain here. Nothing particularly new learned in terms of blogging, but interesting to see it in a new light for a documentative tool rather than a promotional website building tool.
- Jing – totally new for me, and a really intuitive tool to document activities in the workspace environment.
I open my blog on completion of my first AutoCAD drawing task. It feels great to open the latest version and draw again after 10 years away! In some ways, kind of frustrating too since what would once have taken me 10 minutes just took 90. But here is the result!
- Plus point no1 – learning software is way easier in 2020 than it was in 2000s. LinkedIn Learning/Lynda / Pluralsight are truly amazing resources and it was there I spent most of my time getting to know the interface… and eventually finding out how to change in to 3D editing mode.
- I remember now how many shortcuts there are for the command line. All of which I have forgotten. Must find a little notebook for each of these programs!
- Frustrating also now realising how much I’ve forgotten here. But, exciting to have the chance to learn this with a proper foundation this time around, and to have potentially extra time to go deeper.